Friday, January 23, 2009


A few years ago Ray and Mary, Jim and I were on a plane over the Atlantic on our way to a much planned and talked about trip to France. Ray was reading a book. (Ray was always reading a book) I asked what he was reading and he handed me  “A Moveable Feast” Hemingway’s memoirs about his years in Paris in the 1920’s. I flipped through it and asked if I could read it when he finished. He’d finished it by the time we got to Paris so I took it to our hotel room. (I didn’t read it quite as fast as Ray). Then Mary read it. Then Jim read it. It became a sort of travel guide for us.

And this is the thing that I want to say:  Ray didn’t do life half way. If he was going to France then he was going to find out everything he could before he got there. Along the way he opened windows for the rest of us. He had a great way of taking us along with him.  I don’t know if there is anything he wasn’t interested in. He just kept learning and soaking up knowledge

What a wonderful way to be in the world. What a really good gift to pass down the generations.


Life was always an adventure with him. You could drive to Laramie with Ray and Mary and it was an adventure. Everything we did together was that way because Ray had a great zest for life. There were a few years when we to Estes Park every January because the rates were lower and we were cheap. We’d find a place with a hot tub. I think we always picked the week when the weather was 20 below zero. That never bothered Ray. He'd strapped on his skis, go out anyway, and came back with a frozen mustache while Mary and I stayed warm by the fire. Geez, that was cold. I think even the hot tub froze up at one place.


Mostly when we got together for dinner or a weekend we talked of the important things in our lives. Our children. I remember how really proud Ray was of Matt and what a good farmer he was. I recall great stories about Tom before Maria, and after Maria, and how pleased he was to be a grandfather. And how proud he was of Katie, as she became a businesswoman and mother.


We, all of us, are fortunate to have had Ray in our lives. Our lives are richer. Each of us has special memories that we will cherish and hold close to our hearts.


These are some things I will remember:

The heart of him.

The strength of the love for his family.

His way with Mary.

The sense that life was good, that the journey should be fun.

I will remember the laughs. Really good laughs. 

The smile when he knew he had won a poker hand.

(It’s good to play cards with someone like Ray).

Bookstores with Ray.

The way he would bate me, waiting for a reaction, which could lead to:

All night arguments. (He never gave up).

I will remember:

His capacity for life.

His exuberance.

His way of having fun on an ordinary day.

On a farm.

By a pond.

In Colorado.

These are the everyday moments that he lived for,

The stuff of life.

I will like to remember these things about Ray.


I will miss Ray but I see he is still here among us in different ways.

These last few days out at the house with Katie, Matt, Megan and Sarah and Tom, Maria, Rissa, Patrick, and Ben I have seen Ray in their eyes, in their smiles, in their voices and in their hearts. That makes me happy. There is a camaraderie that is nice to be around. It is comfortable. Cozy. It is extra ordinary in a seemingly ordinary way. That’s a good thing.







1 comment:

A Week's Worth of Women said...

This is a great picture of who i can clearly see, was an amazing man. Thank your for this memory.